Miralax Safety

Periodically questions about the safety of Miralax arise. Recently, several colleagues have received some questions about the use of Miralax due to information on the internet. You may want to familiarize yourself with this link due to the misinformation which is provided:


Some of the misleading statements:

  • Miralax has never been tested for safety in children
  • Miralax makes one cancer-prone by leaving the colon unprotected
  • Miralax may result in severe malnutrition ..leading to Autism
  • Miralax can cause memory loss and neurologic side effects

It is true that there is not enough adequate long-term data on the use of Miralax, though there are studies showing its effectiveness/safety (see below).  However, according to the FDA, there are no neuropsychiatric warnings needed for Miralax:

As with all medications, one has to weigh the risks and the benefits.  Clearly, the risk and consequences of untreated defecation problems can be severe in some children and may have terrible adverse effects on daily living.  The known safety profile of Miralax is very good and its usage has been recommended by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) and by the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) in position statements on the treatment of constipation:

An article from NY Times on this subject:

Related Blog Posts:

Related references:

-Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2011; 33: 33-40.  Comparison of golytely vs miralax.
-Gastro & Hep 2008; 4: 489.  Safety/effectiveness of PEG3350 as sole agent for cleanout in 245 adults.  Used 204 gram in 32 oz of water.
-Pediatrics 2006; 118: 528.  Data on safety and effectiveness in 79 children (39 c PEG, 40 c MOM).  PEG outperformed MOM.  compliance for PEG was 95%, after 12 months, 62% improved c PEG and 33% recovered (did not need med anymore).
-JPGN 2004; 39: 536. n=75.  good experience with infants & toddlers; 85% short-term/91% long-term success.
-JPGN 2004; 39: 106.  Miralax cleanout: 4 glasses of Miralax, clears , two doses of senna or bisacodyl, & 1 saline enema.
-J Pediatr 2004; 144: 358.  4 day cleanout with Miralax, 1.5g/kg/day; last day with clears.  No enemas given.
-Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2003 Pashankar DS et al; n=83. Rx avg 8.7mo. insignificant adverse effects. no loss of efficacy
-Clin Pediatr 2002; Gremse DA. Lactulose & Miralax equivalent , but Miralax preferred
-JPGN 2004; 39: 197.  Published use in infants, n=28
-JPGN 2003; 37: 329 (9A) use of Miralax to 2mo or older, n=23.
-J Pediatr 2002; 141: 410-14.  PEG 3350 at doses of 1-1.5g/kg/d for 3 days relieved an impaction in 95%.
-JPGN 2002; 34: 372-377. n=28 pts + 21 pts c MOM control.  61% vs  67% doing well at 12 month f/u.
-OnlineJournal of Digestive Health 1999; 1.  Miralax results in good long-term success without salt absorption.
-J Pediatr 2001; 139: 428-32.  Mean effective dose was 0.84 g/kg/day (range 0.3-1.4 g/k/d) n=24 (for 8 weeks) 18mo to 11 years.
-JPGN 2001; 32: 514. Safety of miralax & references.

21 thoughts on “Miralax Safety

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  8. I’m a healthy 67 y/o who underwent shoulder replacement surgery and took Miralax to stop the constipation caused by pain meds. I experienced severe side effects after a few months of daily PEG ingestion on a once daily 17gm dose. I attribute it to dehydration & mineral depletion. I had zero energy. I believe there should be a warning for seniors about the possible toxicity of using PEG laxatives.

    • With regard to mineral depletion, if there is excessive stooling, salt losses can occur. Usually, individuals will decrease the dose of Miralax if diarrhea develops. I do think good hydration is important. Also, my experience is that Miralax is primarily a stool softener. So, it is helpful for kids who are fearful of painful stools and less effective when a stimulant laxative is needed.

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